Category Archives: Search News

World Cup 2014 In Brazil on Google

With microbloging social media tools like Twitter it looks like Google is loosing field when it goes to live events. Simply news is there posted by people on the stadiums and other venues – not on Google!

However search giant reinvented themselves to stay in a play for the internet users. Company decided to go with live updates but not just that, they connected situation on the pitch to their interactive doodles.

World Cup 2014 Update Live - Timeline

I reckon it works as for a search engine but it proves Google should never enter Social Media battle using G+. They should embrace social media movement by feeding a lot of social media functionality to their search but they should avoid going in to the battle for supremacy in a the social media world. This same way as Microsoft failed to invade successfully their search field they failed to do this to Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn.


Lost Island – Google Maps PR Prank 2012 or Fly’s dung

- Would you like to join me for exploring trip to “Sandy Island”? I found this great place just off the New Caledonia coast.
- No, it isn’t!? It’s just fly’s droppings! What a shame…

You think geographers and cartographers in 21st century know everything about our globe. They can measure it with 1cm accuracy thanks to very accurate satellites and laser devices, explore it flying over things and taking aerial photos. However recently has been “discovered” Google among other providers made up some islands together with their names! You can clearly see below this is an artificial mark on the top of the satellite raster but it was given name – “Sandy Island”. According to Wikipedia its existence was questioned in 2000 (well before Google Maps existed) but it was not publicised. In 2012 it get full attention.
So, What happened?

Go to Google Maps search “Sandy Island” – unbelievable it does exist. First you would thought there should be thousands of places called “Sandy Island” and you are wrong not many of them around about 10 fairly well known. Second someone who made up this island together with its name must have a lot of fun now.

View Larger Map

Phantom Island of Coral Sea shows us clearly Internet published data can be greatly inaccurate. In some cases we perhaps put too much faith in this medium. Even “Sandy Island” existed prior to internet maps it looks like mistake was replicated in digitalised based on offline materials and taken for granted as correct in online world.
It is worth to mention here non of the existing big online map services is homogeneous. You would think so but this is not a case. In UK alone services like Google Maps or Bing Maps use at least 5 providers for satellite imagery and maps layers. After all GIS (Geographic Information Systems)  it is big complex structure and although Google and Microsoft  are some of the biggest organisations in the world they can not cope with global scale mapping on their own. With so many providers worldwide there is no wonder you will have lots of mistakes.

So how “Sandy Island” made to charts? There are few possible scenarios:
1) Raster problem – one of the satellite imagery providers for example NASA created image with couple of dead pixels this was interpreted as island when picture was processed
2) Copyright mark – a lot of cartographers make some insignificant mistake in order to recognise their work. In case map is replicated illegally this mistake is also replicated. There is only one but – this is not done on sea charts for security reasons
3) Prank – sometimes in 1990s someone decide to create island for fun – junior cartographer in some equivalent of Ordinance Survey when digitalising maps decided to create an island. If this would be the case this is the guy who has now so much fun watching all these articles.
4) Fly’s dropping – try to imagine this cartographer in late XX century produces digital vector version of the map based on satellite image. A fly flies over and… “Sandy Island” is created. Trust me however funny this sounds it is possible – I did create few maps in my life :-)

- Do not organise your holidays based only on Google Maps ;-)
- Always keep in mind internet is full of errors so do not take it for granted all data from Wikipedia is correct or this is true because you did “Google it”

New Nav Bar Layout For Google SERP’s

Too Long Google Sidbar Recieved Complains from Users earlier this year

Too Long To Cope With New Features - Google Side Bar Navigation

Earlier this month we spot Google again started testing new possible update to SERPs (Search Engines Result Pages) usability and structure. As previously this testing is not yet visible to everyone but we can perhaps expect it to be visible across all Googles within next few weeks (possibly with some modifications).
Switching Navigation from Left hand side bar to the top bar may suggest several things:
1) Google follows trends and decided to simplify some elements of navigation (current options for search criteria has been summarised in “Search Tools” button and they allow to tick options.
2) More products (search options) which popped up earlier this year created situation where side bar navigation become too long and not that useful. When you tried to open tab “More” and “Show Search Tools” you would need monitor with more then 1000px height res to see all options. “Applications” become for good part of the main navigation – obviously they create revenue for company and long awaited Flight Search looks like made its way from Beta to full release (maybe not yet as Error 500 is not what you expect from link on main Google Nav Bar :-( see more of this story here.

3) left hand side bar is now ready for new task – empty and wide enough to generate some revenue can be easily used for advertising or more push of google products like Chrom or G+ results also it is another space which could be used by AdWords let see.
G+ results make a lot of sense in this position as we have seen in the past them being on right hnd side where briefly they were replacing AdWords for some ad free but popular search terms.

The whole exercise with new layout testing suggests Google similar to other giants struggles with navigational expansion. These changes are made just few weeks after Amazon introduced their new sliding expandable navigation. All these companies need to deal with several layers of navigation from User specific/Account functions navigation through Products/Services Navigation and Functional/options navigation this creates a lot of navbars and buttons and the last thing they want to do is overcomplicated layouts. Perhaps we will see soon some ground braking propositions to keep all this functionality in place but at this same time to create some standardise systems to keep users happy.

One of these recent attempts to improve experience on multi level navigation we can see below:


In the past we also struggled with these type of navigations but we made good progress few years ago while we developed and Top-Content based websites .


New Functionality on Google Navigation Bar in SERPs – Flights Serch – Cool but with 500 Error!

We just checked new Top Nav Bar setup from Google and we spot several times “Error 500″ on return of the flights page. Google Flights is a quite new product from Google which was available online as beta release from 2011 but it did not made to the main search options up to earlier this year. It was mostly due to commercial and technical problems. It looks like despite recent updates which introduced more travel products within Google Flights some technical glitches are still there.

Unfortunately we discovered Google servers respond to some browsers with http Error 500 which of course is not what you expect when you browse one of the most popular services on internet. We checked if this was temporary issue and we logged in from different IP addresses over few hours to assure what we have seen is not temporary situation. Unfortunately Error was repeated with no obvious rule behind its appearance.
I can imagine once this is completed and with minimal Errors it will become our favourite tool unless it will share its faith with couple of other abandoned Google projects. As we can remember this is  what happened last year to Property Search.
Google Flights still needs some work to do - Error 500 on some browsers

Which is better SMX London or SES London?

Early Bird offers for two Search Engines London conference and training events are about to expire today.

SES London takes place later this month SMX London in mid May.

We ask simple question:

Which Search Engine Conference and Training event is better?

View Results

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Maybe these two are so different we should visit both even you have tight budget?

Any Comments?

New Google Privacy Policy 2012 (60 in 1)

Google managed to update it’s Privacy Policy model today. This is what you can come across when you login to Google from today (if actioned this message will disappear)

New Google Privacy Policy

GoogleNet is almost here?

Over the years company took over a lot of businesses many with existing customers. Online services from YouTube, DoubleClick to Feedburner and many more had there own set of legal documents in place. During last 12 months we can see extra effort in bringing all these services in to one manageable system. This of course is not very smooth operation and Google managed to upset few people and institutions in the process. However difficult gradually whether we like it or not we are closer to Googlenet then ever before.
Google claims is managing currently over 60 privacy policies and is willing to replace them from 01/03/2012 with one which will serve everything from searching to sharing and browsing (You can read new policy here). Of course we can imagine all this is to do with cutting budget measures but we must mention recent advance of https in Google’s infrastructure as one of the elements which will show interesting results in the near future especially for online marketers.  From beta version and english based only service Google over ssl is now spreading to other languages

Encrypted search available on new regional domains. Google now offers encrypted search by default on for signed-in users, but it’s not the default on our other regional domains (eg: for France). Now users in the UK, Germany and France can opt in to encrypted search by navigating directly to an SSL version of Google Search on their respective regional domains:, and [more about Jan 2012 Google update here]

We can soon expect many comments from legal and from technical gurus about one Privacy Policy changes from Google.

There are no shocking statements here but we must remember this page is perhaps now guarding Privacy of the biggest human database in the world!


Keyword Tool shows up as Untitled in Google SERP

If you Google Keyword Tool today instead of the usual “Google AdWords: Keyword Tool” title showing up in the SERPs a less helpful and informative “Untitled” appears.

Keyword Tool shows up as untitled in SERP
Google Keyword Tool Title
Going to the page reveals that the page title is not blank or set to untitled.

Any ideas why this would happen? Let us know in the comments!

I found another!

While search in for “diamond football international” I found the title “nbsp; |   &nbsp – Diamond Football International”. I now think Google is changing the way results appear in the SERPs, instead of just the content from the title tag appearing as the result title it take content from other sources including the H1 tag of the page and content from other pages.

Google SERP Titles Changed


Google Algorithm Changes 2012 – Results :-o

It always makes me wonder how some companies perform and I’m jealous when I see all their operations are glossy and smooth. If I forgot to email customer or project schedule is off by few days I blame myself and feel low. I think how on Earth others are able to be always 100% on the highest level of performance – silly me – of course they not! I should learn this already after 14 years in business but somehow I fall in to this same trap over and over again. Recent well commented Google search improvement post get my extra attention today from end user point of view.

Days like today just give me this extra confidence schedules, implementation dates and always growing lists to do is not only my problem. Last week Google announced latest updates to their algorithm:

More relevant sitelinks. [launch codename “concepts”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] We improved our algorithm for picking sitelinks. The result is more relevant sitelinks; for example, we may show sitelinks specific to your metropolitan region, which you can control with your location setting.

All great, smooth I love this open cards policy where they work hard on communication with users and developers to let you understand what they completed, worked on. On official search blog they say “We improved”. On Google UK I see:

of course as you can see I was so shocked I visited landing page. “Good” – I think viagra content is not there

a bit of hesitation and Ivisited cached version. Oh, Noooo! 08/01/2012

Is there, is official – black-hat trick works and on I assume improved sitelinks algorithm too!!!

From one site I’m frustrated to see legitimate very resourceful website with UNESCO logo on explored by spammers. This is charity based organisation – What is wrong with you people? – Disgusting on multiple levels.

On the other hand on the back of my mind I remind myself my today’s concern how all this glossy and 100% confident PR bit from Google Search Blog is far from reality- good remainder – even for huge company with lots of cash and human resources each day list to do gets longer and job is far from being completed!

Does Site Links update needs another update? How about scaning sitelinks content on Google servers before serving them to the end user?

Do you know black-hat technique used on Comments always welcome.  Maybe Matt Cutts or someone from quality search will post here one day ;-)? Never mind I am going back to work my list to do get longer and longer!


New Google Layout – When have you noticed this layout?

It surprised me on Thursday afternoon (01/12/2011) to see completely new layout on Google! Is it new or I just get tricked and forgot this as one of Google’s countless changes? I didn’t notice this one before (almost sure). I am almost always signed in to Google with some custom elements. Today I noticed when you not logged in to Google on you can see this:

New Layout

New Layout From Google - Side Bar - 01/12/2011

Side Nav Bar? I would notice? Anyone?

If this is around for long time let me know when you spot it? I’m asking of course about

Bullet Lists for Listings in Google SERPs

Recently I’ve seen some info from Google mentioning they did about 500 algorithm adjustments during last year to improve quality of searches.

I would say we’ve seen a lot of effort during last months whether we can call it always “improvements” or “nightmares” is up for users to judge and decide in the long term. However I must admit I was surprised they mention only 500 adjustments we could easily see about 100 visual changes in Google interface and usability and each of these brought new functionality which had impact on how search algorithm works.

Let’s concentrate on one of the recent ones – Bullet Lists.

New Search Engines Result Pages addition of bullet list on Google is extracted from website landing page. The most relevant for particular query page content is no longer string of text in some cases. Google decided now the most relevant is matching offer and inserted just under URL list of items available on this page. On the front of this list we have greyed out prefix in the form of information how many items relevant for our keyword we can expect on particular webpage.

Bullet Lists in SERPs - New Change to Google Algorithm 2011

New SERPs feature easy to spot - duplicate content from Premier Inn? Not really - Look at their prices £30 off now visible on Google SERP - Well done Google :-)

So there are some direct positives for user from this feature already. Of course if you plan to stay in London City Hotel your click is more then likely to go to listing one however this dosen’t put Premier Inn in Good light – does it? After all URL with £30 more expensive offer says “Budget” and there you go guys in Premier Inn marketing vocabulary there is £30 gap between “Cheap” and “Budget”.

Google “Bullet List Feature”  on SERPs Summary:

  • This is an important update for all ecommerce websites putting travel industry, gift shops, any kind of directories, affiliates and vertical search engines  in the spot.
  • Check your setup we’ve seen within lists <li>,<div>,<tables> – Google has them all is only one way to check which is better…
  • Onsite Optimisation of Landing pages more relevant then ever before – Google SERPs one stop shop is closer then ever before – imagine links activated on these babies.
  • SEO architecture – big changes ahead for your category pages – homepage won’t do the job the way.